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06BANGKOK2988 PRIVY COUNCILOR ON THAI POLITICAL SITUATION

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“64481”,”5/18/2006 7:53″,”06BANGKOK2988″,

 

“Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,””,”

This record is a partial extract of the original cable.

The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

180753Z May 06

“,”C O N F I D E N T I A L BANGKOK 002988

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

PACOM FOR FPA HUSO

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/18/2016

TAGS: PGOV, PREL, MARR, TH, Thai Political Updates

SUBJECT: PRIVY COUNCILOR ON THAI POLITICAL SITUATION

 

Classified By: Ambassador Ralph L. Boyce. Reason 1.4 (a and d).

 

1. (C) SUMMARY. Privy Councilor Surayud Chulanont told

the Ambassador that he is convinced Prime Minister Thaksin

Shinawatra will attempt to reenter Thai politics after a

brief hiatus. Surayud agreed with suggestions that Thaksin

might be hoping to capitalize on his close relationship with

the Crown Prince and resume his political career after the

78-year old King\’s death. Surayud hoped that the Thai

intellectual class could help educate the Thai working class

about the threat Thaksin posed to Thai democracy. While

acknowledging that the Thai military was moving towards

becoming apolitical, Surayud voiced concerns that a faction

of the Thai Army might be tempted to move in support of

Thaksin. END SUMMARY.

 

ROLE OF THE ARMY

 

2. (C) During a May 17 meeting at the Ambassador\’s

residence with visiting Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs ADM

Edmund Giambastiani, Privy Councilor Surayud explained that

certain unnamed politicians loyal to Prime Minister Thaksin

were attempting to influence some Army officers to move in

support of Thaksin. While acknowledging that the Royal Thai

Army had come a long way since he had been Army Chief and

Supreme Commander, Surayud noted that it would likely be some

time before they were completely out of politics. Surayud

suggested, however, that the majority of Army officers

favored maintaining neutrality.

 

BUDGET AND ECONOMIC IMPLICATIONS OF THE STALEMATE

 

3. (C) Surayud expressed concern that the ongoing political

stalemate would likely cause budget woes for the armed

services. He said that, without a sitting Parliament, the

armed services would be unable to submit new budget requests

and that, absent a budget, Thai regulations prevented the

military from using more than one-third of the previous

year\’s budget to operate. He suggested that the short term

impact of the political uncertainty could be managed but

worried that the long-term effects could hurt foreign

investment and growth. Surayud agreed that both political

parties were aware of risks to the economy but remained more

focused on fighting each other.

 

THE KING SUPPORTS THE CONSTITUTION AND THE JUDICIARY

 

4. (C) Surayud explained that the King\’s recent remarks to

key judges emphasizing his position as a \”monarch under the

Constitution\” were made in part as a response to allegations

made in Paul Handley\’s yet-to-be-published book \”The King

Never Smiles\” which assert that the King has little respect

for democratic principles. Surayud was convinced that the

King intended to see the present political stand-off resolved

through the courts. Surayud went on to say that his contacts

within the judiciary expected it would take at least two or

three months before the courts would be able to render

decisions in all of the cases having an impact on the

political situation.

 

THAKSIN WILL PROBABLY COME BACK

 

5. (C) Surayud expected Thaksin to return to politics after

a short hiatus. He suggested that the Thai intelligentsia

should work to educate Thai working class Thaksin supporters

about the risks Thaksin posed to Thai democratic

institutions. If the educated class did not have enough time

to sway those supporters, Surayud expected Thaksin would have

a very strong chance of returning to power.

 

6. (C) In a pull-aside subsequent to the meeting, Surayud

told the Ambassador that he agreed with speculation that

Thaksin might be waiting until the King dies before resuming

his political career, noting that Thaksin had invested

heavily in cultivating good relations with the Crown Prince.

Surayud also seemed surprised when told that, during his

recent visit to foreign capitals, Thaksin had been telling

his interlocutors that the King had asked him to step down.

Although not present during the King\’s April 4 meeting with

Thaksin, Surayud had earlier told the Ambassador that the

King had not directly asked Thaksin to step down.

BOYCE

Written by thaicables

July 11, 2011 at 8:17 am

One Response

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  1. […] our brief commentaries on Wikileaks cables, PPT draws attention to a comment in this cable, detailing a meeting between Privy Councilor Surayud Chulanont and U.S. Ambassador Ralph […]


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